GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU Sports Information/WNCT/WNCN) – East Carolina University head football coach Mike Houston, who has led the Pirates to their first bowl appearance and winning season since the 2014 campaign, has agreed to tentative terms of a proposed contract. With Board of Trustees Approval, it would secure his position through the 2026 season according to an announcement from ECU Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert on Thursday.
WNCT’s sports reporter Brian Bailey reports it’s a new contract that will pay Houston $2.3 million per year, with $1.4 million as his base pay and $900,000 in supplemental income from other areas such as his radio and television shows. The buyout goes to $2 million and goes down $250,000 per year of the deal.
“It’s truly an honor and privilege to be the head football coach at ECU, and I want to thank Chancellor Rogers and Jon Gilbert for their continued commitment to building a program we can all be proud of,” Houston said. “We have built a solid foundation due to the discipline, determination and work done by our players, coaches and staff.”
Houston continued, “We still have unfinished business, but we are confident we are making strides daily to have a program we can all be proud of. Most importantly, Amanda and I, along with our two boys, love living in this community and being a part of the Pirates family. We look forward to seeing everybody in Annapolis on Dec. 27.”
The Pirates will bus up to Annapolis, Maryland for the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN with kickoff starting at approximately 2:30 p.m.
The Pirates finished with their best record in seven seasons, going 7-5 overall and 5-3 in the American Athletic Conference. The five wins in-conference also marked a four-game win streak that included an upset in overtime away at the University of Memphis.
ECU also already played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium this season, topping the Naval Academy on Nov. 20 thanks to a career-long 50-yard field goal as time expired from freshman kicker Owen Daffer.
The Dec. 27 appearance will be ECU’s second appearance all-time in the Military Bowl. Its first came in a 51-20 loss to the University of Maryland in 2010.
Houston, the Franklin, N.C. native, was formally introduced as the Pirates’ 22nd head coach on Dec. 5, 2018 and immediately began a rebuilding process that, in addition to post-season eligibility, has produced notable milestones on offense, defense and special teams in each campaign.
Prior to his arrival in Greenville, East Carolina posted four-straight losing seasons, including a trio of three-win campaigns.
In just three seasons, Houston’s focus never wavered from establishing a physical game plan that has resulted in the Pirates’ highest combined rushing average in nearly 15 years and Top 25 rankings in a multitude of categories such as passing yards per game, total yards per game, fourth-down efficiency and time of possession on offense and turnovers forced, fumbles recovered, passes intercepted and third-down efficiency on defense.
Additionally, a total of 12 players have earned All-American Athletic Conference honors since 2019 with one also securing AAC Rookie-of-the-Year accolades – a first in program history.
“This is an exciting day for ECU Athletics and the future of our football program,” Gilbert said. “Coach Houston, his staff and our student-athletes have worked tirelessly over the past three years to change the culture and direction of our program.